If you are at a desk in an office or working remotely there is no doubt something about your environment is distracting to your focus of making contact with potential buyers or talking with existing customers to grow revenues.
For this conversation, a toleration is an annoyance - something you put up with, and it adds to your stress, often making you less productive. Some of us have dozens of these floating around our brain now. Did you just think of one?
The issues vary if you are in a noisy sales group environment (especially if the noise distracts you) or if you are in a home office that might be so quiet it doesn't encourage you to pick up your pace a bit. It is so much more than noise, though. It is everything from how organized you are or need to be, to how comfortable your chair is, to how much space you have for technology or documents, and other aspects of a work space.
Start thinking about what is making you less productive as you go about your day. Here are some tips to improve your environment.
Do you get interrupted a lot? If so, consider putting a sign on your chair that says, "DO NOT DISTURB - I'M SELLING" - I got this idea courtesy of Connect and Sell. Not sure if they still give these out. I got mine at a conference.
On interruptions: They are HUGE time-wasters. Let those around you know that you have blocks of time for calling and not to interrupt you unless it is an emergency. Your interruptions will reduce dramatically.
Are you ADD or ADD-ish? Lots of us are - spend some time sitting at your desk and looking around to see what it is that distracts you most. Fix that issue, because you can create an environment that will support you better. If not, see if you can move elsewhere in the office.
Fix your e-mail issues. Learn to check email 3 times a day. You'll save hours each week if you do just this.
Do the least fun tasks first. If you feel like you run out of time each day, you'll need to work on prioritizing (and re-prioritizing). What project or task is hanging over your head each day when you come in? Is there a way you can tackle that ONE thing? If so, you will feel less stress and more energy, which directly helps you come across better to potential customers and clients.
Make a list of the top ten things that annoy you. You probably can't fix the fact that you are annoyed by the guy who sits at the desk next to you, unless you are a top producer. If so, let your sales leader know that you'll be more productive in a better location somewhere else in the office space. If you are in a home office or remote office, you still need to make a list of the top 10 things you are annoyed by when it comes to you getting everything accomplished during the course of your day.
Better use your technology. There are new tools popping up every week. Are you in a good routine with them, or do some aspects overwhelm you? Perhaps you just don't use them with a methodology or sequence which would help you get more done.
Read Thomas Leonard's Top Ten Ways to Tolerate Nothing if you need more ideas. (note: he mentions a Rolodex, just substitute for a more current item, as the ideas are timeless!)
What one annoyance in your environment can you fix today?
What ten can you work on this month?
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling.